Reproductive ecology[ edit ] The common snook is a protandric hermaphrodite fish species. For example, common snook are able to determine when to start and stop spawning based on the temperature and salinity of the water they inhabit, the amount of rainfall in the area, and whether or not the moon is full. One example is the devastating results of a cold snap. Snook are very susceptible to cold temperatures, with the effects ranging from the complete halt of all feeding at a water temperature of During a great warming trend after the Ice Age, snook moved northward along the Mexico shoreline. They followed the perimeter of the Gulf of Mexico, along the west and east coasts of Florida.
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Species — undecimalis Common Names The English language common names for this species are common snook, linesiders, pike, sargeant fish, snook and thin snook. Importance to Humans Common snook is a hugely popular recreational fish in the Gulf Coast due to its fighting ability and culinary value. Conservation Status Common snook are commercially exploited throughout most of their range except in Texas and Florida were they support a large recreational fishery.
The Florida state legislation declared common snook a gamefish in and prohibited its sale. There has been no legal commercial harvest of common snook in Florida since this piece of legislation was enacted. Common snook is also commercially protected in Texas.
In January , the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission implemented a slot limit, which means fish can only be recreationally harvested between the sizes of 26 to 34 inches 66 to 86 cm in order to protect the larger breeding females.
Common snook fishing is closed between December 15 and January 31 statewide in Florida and a bag limit of 1 or 2 fish per person per day depending on the area is strictly enforced FWC fishing regulations. Geographical Distribution World distribution map for the snook Common snook are the most widely distributed species within the Centropomus genus and have been reported as far north as New York USA and throughout the Gulf of Mexico. Common snook occur infrequently along the coast of Texas to Galveston and then more or less continuously south to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Habitat Juvenile common snook are generally restricted to the protection of riverine and estuary environments. These environments offer shallow water and an overhanging vegetative shoreline. Juvenile common snook can survive in waters with lower oxygen levels than adults. Adult common snook inhabit many environments including mangrove forests, beaches, river mouths, nearshore reefs, salt marshes and sea grass meadows. Adult common snook appear to be less sensitive to cold water temperatures than larvae or small juveniles.
The lower lethal limit of water temperature is Biology Common snook. Photo courtesy National Park Service Distinctive Features Common snook have a slender body and a distinct lateral line. The dorsal fins are high and divided and the anal spines are relatively short. The common snook has a sloping forehead with a large mouth and a protruding lower jaw.
Adult common snook can grow to over Coloration Coloration of the common snook is golden yellow with a distinct black lateral line and pale yellow pelvic fins. Dentition The common snook lacks teeth on the maxillae.
There is a band of fine teeth located on the premaillae and the dentaries. The palatine bone has a narrow band of teeth on it and the ectopterygoid bone located behind the palate may or may not have a tooth patch associated with it.
The largest observed sizes for females on the Atlantic and gulf coasts are The world record for a common snook caught on hook and line is a pound ounce Theoretical longevity estimates from age and growth studies suggest that common snook can live to about twenty years old. On the Atlantic coast, the oldest sampled common snook was an eighteen-year-old female and the oldest male was fifteen.
On the gulf coast, the oldest common snook sampled was a fifteen year old female and the oldest male was twelve. Food Habits Larval and small common snook eat mainly copepods and microcrustaceans.
As common snook grow larger they eat fish, shrimp, crabs and zooplankton. This change in food habits occurs at around 1. Common snook in an aquarium. Photo courtesy NOAA Reproduction Common snook are protandric hermaphrodites, changing from male to female after maturation.
This transition is identified by the presence of both male and female sex cells in the gonads and takes place when they grow to between 9. A study conducted in , indicated that the sex ratios for common snook ages 0 — 2 are significantly skewed between the east and west coasts of Florida USA due to protrandry and differences in growth and mortality rates. The majority of small common snook are male and most large snook are female.
Males reach sexual maturity during their first year at 5. Research shows that female gonads mature directly from the mature male gonads shortly after spawning. The probability that a common snook of a particular size will be a female increases with length or age.
Predators The common snook are preyed upon by dolphins, birds including osprey and heron, and larger fish. Parasites Three species of myxosporeans [Myxobolus centropomi trophozoites in gill, psuedobranch and under scales , Ceratomyxa choleospora trophozoites and spores in gallbladder, spores in fecal casts and Fabespora sp.
Taxonomy Bloch first described Centropomus undecimalis in in Jamaica.
Species — undecimalis Common Names The English language common names for this species are common snook, linesiders, pike, sargeant fish, snook and thin snook. Importance to Humans Common snook is a hugely popular recreational fish in the Gulf Coast due to its fighting ability and culinary value. Conservation Status Common snook are commercially exploited throughout most of their range except in Texas and Florida were they support a large recreational fishery. The Florida state legislation declared common snook a gamefish in and prohibited its sale. There has been no legal commercial harvest of common snook in Florida since this piece of legislation was enacted.
Species See text. Prior to the subfamily Latinae, which contained three genera, was placed within Centropomidae; this has since been raised to the family level and renamed Latidae because a cladistic analysis showed the old Centropomidae to be paraphyletic. This has left Centropomus as the only remaining genus in this family. These are popular game and food fishes. Dating from the upper Cretaceous , the centropomids are of typical percoid shape, distinguished by having two-part dorsal fins , a lateral line that extends onto the tail, and, frequently, a concave shape to the head. Occurring in a variety of habitats ranging from coral reefs to estuaries and mangrove swamps, the snooks are carnivorous , feeding primarily on crustaceans and other fishes. Many of the snooks are important as commercial food fish and as game fish.